State Blasted For Loopholes Allowing Felons To Be Employed At Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Homes

In Florida, day care centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and group homes have hired thousands of felons to care for children, seniors and the disabled despite a law requiring background checks to screen all potential employees.

Many of these felons have committed rape, murder and child molestation, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

And even after it was discovered that these employees were felons, many were granted exemptions, which allowed them to continue working, under the condition that they do not commit more crimes.

However, 20 percent - about 1,800 felons - ended up getting arrested again, some for abusing the patients they were supposed to be caring for.

Part of the problem lies in a loophole in the law that allows employees to begin working even though the background check has not been completed, a process that can take months.

And even if the felony is discovered once they are on the job, it is not difficult to get an exemption.

One woman who had a record for aggravated assault, was given an exemption in 2005 after she was hired by a nursing home. Last year, she was charged with stealing more than $36,000 from the bank accounts of patients, most who were bedridden and comatose.

Another woman, an admitted cocaine dealer in another state, was also given an exemption in 2004. Three years later, she was accused of dragging a mentally disabled man out of a van by his feet and slamming his head onto the pavement.

Now lawmakers are talking about closing the loopholes in the laws. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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